Adventures In Spiritual Living

Living Life as an Adventure of
Spiritual Exploration and Discovery

A Rare Privilege
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A Rare Privilege

Billie Cooper

One of the best techniques for helping your fellow man is to pray that he or she will have the needed strength to cope with life’s situations. You can help people you have never met or someone you know well. 

Several years ago, I was traveling by air between Dallas and Fort Smith, Arkansas. The weather was bad, and the plane was several hours late. I was waiting at the gate in Dallas for the plane to be called for boarding when I noticed a man who looked like he was heartbroken or perhaps had received a severe shock. He sat staring down at his hands. His only movement was an occasional shake of his body. He didn’t seem to know what was going on around him. He looked to me as if he wouldn’t be able to find his way onto the plane. 

When we boarded the plane, I waited until I saw him rise and walk toward the plane before I left my seat. I had planned to take him by the arm and lead him aboard if he needed help, but he made it on his own. After fastening my seat belt, I looked around. Directly across the aisle sat the man. I began to feel his pain very deeply. It was as if the pain was my own. I thought, perhaps I could offer to help. Or perhaps it would help to let him know I cared. Then the cultural programming of my generation “you are one sex, and I am another,” influenced me. I began to think he might misunderstand my concern. I felt that there just wasn’t anything I could do. Then there was the thought “Yes, there is. You can pray.” 

By this time, the plane was in the air. It was rocking from wing to wing. Lightning was flashing off both wings. In the quiet intimacy of the plane, I prayed that this man would have strength to stand his heartache. I had been praying for several minutes when I felt a hand on my shoulder. Looking up I saw the hand belonged to the man for whom I was praying. 

He said, “Thank you for coming to me.” (I had not left my seat.) “My mother died while I was delayed in Dallas. I have traveled thousands of miles to see her.” He reached out and asked me if I would mind holding his hand as he needed strength. ” I travel the world for a TV network,” he continued. ” I am weak tonight. Tomorrow I shall have to be strong for others,” Several times during the trip he reached for my hand as if he were drawing strength from the contact. When we arrived in Fort Smith, he deplaned with a simple, “Thank you.”

I never knew his name nor would I recognize him if I ever saw him again. I cannot even recall his features. To have such an experience makes one know that prayer is answered. What a privilege I was given. 

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